Dave Kerpen | Why Your Company’s Social Media is Failing
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Why Your Company’s Social Media is Failing

Why Your Company’s Social Media is Failing

The other day, I had an issue with my television service. As a social media author and CEO, I did the first thing that comes natural: I tweeted, and posted a complaint on the company’s Facebook page. To their credit, the company responded right away, apologizing and giving me a phone number to call to resolve my service issue. This is terrific social media practice.

The only problem? When I called up the phone number they gave me on Facebook, I was put on hold for over 40 minutes! While the guilty company eventually resolved my customer service issue, I was left as angry and frustrated as I’d been before. There was zero connection between this utility company’s social media channels and its phone customer service.

Several years into the coming of age of social media, most companies are still paying only lip service to the most significant communications paradigm shift in a century. Companies who spend millions of dollars in Facebook ads don’t allow their employees to access Facebook.com at work. Companies who dedicate full staffs to Twitter don’t have any C-level employees who even use Twitter. Companies who spend a lot of time and money on distributing content across social networks don’t use those same networks to listen to their customers.

What is the root of the problem, and how can it be fixed?

In many companies, social media is still silo-ed. In order to become successful, senior executives must go beyond social media and embrace social business.

To better explain social business, I spoke with Brian Solis, fellow LinkedIn Influencer and co-author of the brand new book 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy.Here is what Brian shared with me:

There’s a difference between a social media and social business strategy. Social media are the channels where information and people are connected via two-way platforms. Social media strategy defines programs specific to networks and the corresponding activity within and around each. A Social Business Strategy is one that aligns with the strategic business goals and has alignment and support throughout the organization.

Here are Brian’s seven steps to successfully champion and scale social media through the organization and earn executive support along the way:

1. Define the overall business goals.

Explore how social media strategies create direct or indirect impact on business objectives. What are you trying to accomplish and how does it communicate value to those who don’t understand social media?

2. Establish the long-term vision.

Articulate a vision for becoming a social business and the value that will be realized internally among stakeholders and externally to customers (and shareholders).

3. Ensure executive support.

Social media often exists in a marketing silo. It must expand to empower the rest of the business. To scale takes the support of key senior executives and their interests lie in business value and priorities.

4. Define the strategy and roadmap and identify initiatives.

Once you have your vision and you’re in alignment on business goals, you need a plan that helps you bring everything to life. A strategic social business roadmap looks out 3-5 years and aligns business goals with social media initiatives across the organization.

5. Establish governance and guidelines.

Who will take responsibility for social strategy and lead the development of an infrastructure to support it? You’ll need help. Form a center of excellence to prioritize initiatives, tackle guidelines and processes, and assign roles and responsibilities.

6. Secure staff, resources, and funding.

Determine where resources are best applied now and over the next three years. Think scale among agencies but also internally to continually take your strategy and company to the next level. Train staff on vision, purpose, business value creation, and metrics/reporting to ensure a uniform approach as you grow.

7. Invest in technology platforms that support the greater vision and objectives.

Ignore shiny object syndrome. Resist significant investments until you better understand how social technology enables or optimizes your strategic roadmap. Once you do, invest in the best-fit technology providers to help scale ‘social’ across your entire enterprise.

It’s time for businesses to stop paying lip service to social media and to start truly becoming social organizations – organizations at which all employees use the incredible technologies we’ve come to use and love as consumers. It’s time to create a social business for your organization. Today can be your start.


Now it’s your turn. How well has your organization embraced social technologies? What businesses have you interacted with who truly “get” social media? What challenges do you see in businesses moving beyond social media to truly embrace social business? Let me know your thoughts in the Comments below – as a social business guy, I’ll be sure to respond! And please do share this post with your network.

To read Dave’s column in INC Magazine, please click here.

Brian Solis is a Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group. Brian’s ideas and perspectives are often cited in the press, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and many other business, technology, and mainstream outlets. He is the author of several bestselling books, including most recently The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy.

  • Greg Seffernick
    Posted at 21:04h, 14 June Reply

    Interesting read and I might add, I often wonder how many companies often visit their own website as a guest and see and experience what I see and experience while doing so.

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